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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 584:213-227 (2017)  -  DOI:

Assessing the size adequacy of a small no-take marine protected area (MPA) for Mediterranean moray and European conger

Tadeu José Pereira1,2,*,**, Ana Filipa Silva1,**, Pedro Raposo de Almeida1,2, Ana Filipa Belo1, José Lino Costa1,3, Nuno Castro1, Bernardo Ruivo Quintella1,3 

1MARE - Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente, Portugal
2Departmento de Biologia, Escola de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Évora, Portugal
3Departmento de Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
*Corresponding author:
**These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: In 2011, several type I marine protected areas (no-take MPAs) were established inside the Sudoeste Alentejano and Costa Vicentina Marine Park, located along the southwestern coast of Portugal. This study quantified the home range, movement patterns and activity levels of 19 moray Muraena helena and 6 conger Conger conger eels to assess if the size of one of these MPAs (Pessegueiro Island) is adequate to protect these heavily fished species. Individuals were captured inside and outside of the no-take MPA, tagged with acoustic transmitters and monitored for 2 mo during the summer of 2013. Morays and congers showed a mean residency index of 0.48 and home ranges of 19.4 and 34.4 ha, respectively, corresponding to 4 and 8% of the MPA. Morays and congers were active for 3.3 and 12.0% of the time, respectively, mainly at night and during quarter lunar phases. Morays moved <1 km d-1 around reefs near the island, while congers roamed more widely. Results highlight the importance of this no-take MPA as a refuge and feeding area for both species, at least during the summer period, and suggest that its size is adequate for protecting these species against fishing activity. Ultimately, the present study provides evidence that small no-take MPAs can be adequate for protecting species with small home ranges.

KEY WORDS: Activity patterns · Acoustic telemetry · Conger conger · Home range · Muraena helena  · PNSACV Marine Park

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Cite this article as: Pereira TJ, Silva AF, de Almeida PR, Belo AF, Costa JL, Castro N, Quintella BR (2017) Assessing the size adequacy of a small no-take marine protected area (MPA) for Mediterranean moray and European conger. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 584:213-227.

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